Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collect

by Daniel Paiz

the-isley-brothers-fight-the-power-part-1-epic-2-298x300 Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collectRock and Roll, Grunge, and Punk have all had a huge impact on the music world. However, today’s music is influenced by a different kind of sound. The Isley Brothers are one of those groups that still influence rappers, singers, and producers to this day. For groups this storied, that’s pretty rare. It’s difficult to name more than a handful with that kind of longevity that still influences in the same way.

It’s also difficult to decide what aspect of The Isley Brothers to add to your poster collection. With a career that spans nearly 60 years, you can throw a dart to choose what era interests you. In order to start somewhere, let’s determine which version speaks to you most.

Starting from the beginning of The Isley Brothers

Starting with the beginning of The Isley Brothers’ touring career, which can be a little bit harder to find. It makes sense, as the older the tour the less likely it is to find posters from the said tour. It appears most posters that are easily accessible start out in the 1960s. For example, the following poster is a concert preview of sorts for Madison Square Garden shows in 1969.

isley-brothers-MSG-poster-69-225x300 Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collect

This one might appeal more to music fans in general than only Isley Brothers fans. It can be nice to have a poster that includes not only one’s favorite group but a slew of other timeless acts. The numbers surrounding James Brown’s show is a nice historical tidbit. It kind of makes it seems like The Isley Brothers are regarded in the same group as Brown. With Sly and the Family Stone also included in the 1969 concert calendar, that might not be that big of a stretch.

This particular poster popped up towards the top of search results while browsing eBay (retailing for a reasonable $9.99). It did seem odd that most records are popping up and not tour posters when looking at the earlier Isley Brothers years. Since The Temptations and The Four Tops were top billing at Motown Records, the Isley Brothers might’ve been on the short end of the stick.

Perhaps they also needed better marketing and advertising teams at the time. Either way, the group found more success post-Motown. Moving on beyond speculation about how records impacted their careers, let’s look at another poster from a more commercially successful era.

Cherry-picking from the middle

vintage-isley-brothers-concert-poster-pendergrass-218x300 Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collectIn the 1970s, things turned around for The Isley Brothers. The group did release a host of albums. There were also a solid six regular members in the group. Add in the inclusion of Disco and other genres and you have the makings of success. Let’s fast forward to the late 70s. In particular, a 1978 concert in Pittsburgh, PA with another rising star.

To be fair, Teddy Pendergrass made a name for himself throughout the mid-1970s. Coupling these two acts together must equal a truly legendary time. You’re also going to pay mid prices for this poster. Due to it being an original poster, it is listed at $150.

Certainly not as bad as it could be, but higher than you might be looking to spend. It all goes back to the age-old argument of how vested your interest is in this particular band. Items from the 1970s might be the easiest to find, while newer posters (like from the 1990s) will be cheaper.

For example, the 1996 poster below is around $15.

1996-isley-bros-297x300 Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collect

Curious what happens to this poster…

There aren’t many posters to check out post-1996, mainly due to The Isley Brothers becoming a duo. Marvin Isley left the group due to complications from diabetes. The duo continued to put out music, but as it had in the 1970s, the music landscape was vastly different. Despite that, the duo found popular success.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 globally, concert tours are still up in the air. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this 60th Anniversary tour with Ron Isley and Ernie Isley. This UK poster could be one of those keepsakes of something that comes to pass.

60th-anniversay-isley-brothers-225x300 Determining which version of the Isley Brothers to collect

From what I can tell, this possibly still happening (or not) tour poster is only about $5 right now on eBay. That could change once more concrete plans happen, but right now might be a good time to get a piece of history. This particular writer might just be purchasing a poster after finishing this article. Either way, who knows how many more shows The Isley Brother will continue to do after nearly 60 years in the music business.

 

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